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chapter 01 Introduction: Rigorous HolesPerspectives on Psychoanalytic Theory in Art and Performance Research
Introduction by Dr Malcolm Quinn, CCW Graduate School, University of the Arts London

Contact Details: Dr Malcolm Quinn CCW Graduate School m.quinn@chelsea.arts.ac.uk www.malcolmquinn.com Editorial Team: Dr Malcolm Quinn Professor Dany Nobus Chris Gomersall Design: Sarah Backhouse Print: ArtQuarters Press, London

page 7

chapter 02 Doctoral Research Training in Psychoanalytic Theory in Art and Performance

Dr. Stijn Vanheule in conversation with Professor Dany Nobus, Chelsea College of Art, Wednesday 30 May 2007

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chapter 03 Eros and Knowledge: Wishful Thinking?

Dr James Hellings, Lecturer in Fine Art Theoretical & Contextual Studies, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University

page 35

chapter 04 Desire Research

Dr Lucille Holmes, Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland

page 41 2011 CCW Graduate School and contributors Published: CCW Graduate School, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU ISBN: 978-0-9558628-7-8

chapter 05 Engimas of Research: Psychoanalysis and/as Culture

Professor Griselda Pollock, CentreCATH, University of Leeds

page 53

chapter 06 Practising practice: an approach to a possible relation between Psychoanalysis and Practise Based Research
Adrian Rifkin, Professor of Art Writing, Department of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London

01 Introduction: Rigorous HolesPerspectives on Psychoanalytic Theory in Art and Performance Research

Dr Malcolm Quinn, CCW Graduate School, University of the Arts London
DANY NOBUS: In that case would you agree that research, doing research, that deserves to be called research is not just about choosing a design, assuming a particular goal, but its do with adopting a certain position? STIJN VANHEULE: Absolutely, thats the clue of doing research. We have to adopt a certain attitude.


publication, including essays by James Hellings, Lucille Holmes, Griselda Pollock and Adrian Rifkin, is the final outcome of a two-day symposium entitled Rigorous Holes Perspectives on Psychoanalytic Theory in Art and Performance Research held in the Red Room at Chelsea College of Art, Millbank on 29 and 30 May 2007. Rigorous Holes was the concluding seminar of a two year AHRC funded doctoral training programme led by Dr Malcolm Quinn at Wimbledon College of Art and Professor Dany Nobus at Brunel University, which had developed from our earlier collaboration on the book Knowing Nothing, Staying Stupid: Elements for a Psychoanalytic Epistemology (Routledge 2005). The title Rigorous Holes was taken from the coda to this book, in which Dany Nobus describes some aspects of the Freudian idea of working through and Jacques Lacans response to it:
psychoanalysis incorporates a checked knowledge, a knowledge traversed by a rigorous hole, whose constitutive function needs to be acknowledged and conceptualised in view of the possible emergence of a new beginning if psychoanalysis, as a theory of a specific clinical practice, is geared towards the acknowledgement of the fundamental fissure residing at the heart of its own body of knowledge,

this process of working-through and its ensuing ethical judgment on the nature of psychoanalytic action may inspire representatives of other disciplines to reassess their own relationship with the knowledge that supports their research.

With the idea of a mutual reassessment of knowledge to the fore, the symposium at Chelsea set out to do something unprecedented, which was to institute a dialogue between psychoanalytic models for art and performance research and those relating to the clinical practice of psychoanalysis, the social sciences and the humanities. Over the two days of the event, there were keynote speeches from these three areas of researchfirst, the clinical practice of psychoanalysis (Dr Stijn Vanheule, Ghent University), secondly psychoanalysis and research in art and performance (Dr Joanne Morra, University of the Arts) and finally psychoanalysis and research in the humanities (Professor Naomi Segal, Director of the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London). Because our primary focus was on the relationship of psychoanalysis and art and performance, we also included further presentations from academics currently leading debate in this area, as well as from doctoral research students whose projects engaged with the opportunities and problems of psychoanalysis in art, performance and related fields. Earlier seminars in our doctoral training programme had defined a point of research focus and discursive investment where psychoanalysis and art and performance could join forces. The first workshop brought together Sutupa Biswas and Ed Pluth in a discussion of The Act. The second workshop involved performance and discussion from Adrian Kear, Joe Kelleher and Ernst Fischer on the subject of Time, and the third workshop had contributions from Alison Bancroft and Sharon Kivland on The Object. The essays in this publication, written independently by four academics who took no part in the original programme but who had access to transcripts and material on the project website, are intended to develop some further working through of the issues raised by the programme, extend its range, and consolidate its place within the field of art and design research. A point of reflection is provided by the inclusion in this publication of a transcript of a public conversation between Professor Dany Nobus and Dr Stijn Vanheule, that took place on the first day of the symposium; the essays that follow include

direct and indirect commentary and reflection on the issues raised by this conversation. The essays all make reference to an important issue raised by Nobus and Vanheule in their conversation, namely how psychoanalysis points to a distinction between the conscious goals of research and the unconscious position of the researcher as subject. As Lucille Holmes suggests, an awareness of this difference can lead to a situation where the goals of research are re-directed towards an analysis of desire:
The aim of an analysis gives an answer to another question posed in the conversation between Venheule and Nobus: what position could an artist adopt to conduct research that is truthful to the principles of psychoanalysis? One of those principles of the subject owning his desire can be clearly located in the emergent principles for art research. If I were to propose a title for a prerequisite course of analysis which would fulfil Elkinss enrolment requirements and be truthful to the principles of psychoanalysis, it would be Desire Research.

A good example of this kind of research in the arts can be found in Lars Von Triers film The Five Obstructions (2005). In this film, Von Trier invites Jrgen Leth to remake or work through his short film The Perfect Human five times under specific conditions, which include using no edit greater than half a second of film, remaking the film in the most miserable place in the world, reconstructing The Perfect Human as a cartoon, and, most traumatic of all, the threat of remaking the film under conditions of perfect freedom. At one point, Von Trier demands that Leth should answer the voice-over questions that he left unanswered in The Perfect Humanhere the activity of research is directed at the rigorous hole of desire constituted by all these unanswered questions. In a similar vein to Lucille Holmes, Griselda Pollock says:
any discussion of psychoanalysis in advanced research in art and design is not a matter of application of a theoretical paradigm to another domain, but a form of mutual reflection and interrogation of spaces and processes that share a status as both cultural and auto-questioning about conditions of meaning and subjectivity.

James Hellings goes further in naming a specific encounter between eros and knowledge that shapes art and design research within a psychoanalytic aegis:
Things (art), the thought that accompanies them (aesthetics) together with their subject (aesthetic comportment), thus constitute the privileged locus for a productive engagement between eros and knowledge.

In the final essay in this collection, Adrian Rifkin draws our attention to the paradox that when the artist or designer speaks of research, the official goals of research are undermined even as its unconscious investments are revealed:
what is at stake in the phrase P-B-R [practice based research]? Is it a symptom, can it be holding some aspiration to a better way of thinking, is it the name for an object, a lack, a loss, a form of melancholy in always turning round the practice and the research and their impossible base as being each other, when each is anyway a practice and a looking-for? [] we can take them as a moment in the distribution of the sensible when a non-part or a sans-partthe maker of artcan speak or be spoken, precisely in the space of absurdity that might be the unconscious of bureaucracy: in this way P-B-R with any number of its prefixes need not, after all, make any more sense than that.

Rifkins essay shows that a psychoanalytic orientation enables us to shift the terms of the question from the condescending can artists do research? to the apprehensive what will happen (to art and research) when artists do research?

End Notes
1.  Dany Nobus,Coda in Dany Nobus and Malcolm Quinn, Knowing Nothing Staying Stupid: Elements for a Psychoanalytic Epistemology (London: Routledge, 2005), pp. 208-9.

02 Doctoral Research Training in Psychoanalytic Theory in Art and Performance

PROFESSOR DANY NOBUS: Dr. Stijn Vanheule (SV), Associate Professor, Department of Psychoanalysis and Clinical Consulting, Ghent University, in conversation with Professor Dany Nobus (DN), Chair of Psychology and Psychoanalysis and Head of the School of Social Sciences at Brunel UniversityChelsea College of Art, Wednesday 30 May 2007.
First of all, I would like to thank you for a very thoughtful and thought provoking intervention. Im sure it raises many questions that will return to us over the next couple of days in various settings and formats. You started by saying that Lacanian psychoanalysts, and perhaps we shouldnt restrict it to Lacanians, have tended to be quite squeamish and perhaps even aversive when it comes to doing research. I think its to do with the fact that the term research has very strong connotations or conjures up images of an allegedly detached and neutral figure who approaches a particular object on the basis of carefully crafted, methodologically rigorous processes, with a view to generating new knowledge and furthering understanding, that is to say with a view to producing knowledge that is allegedly truthful. And as such the term research, I think, for many people refers back to positivistic, empiricist traditions in the human and social sciences, which seem to be quite strange or alien to what it is that psychoanalysts do and can do and are supposed to do if they want to safeguard themselves against becoming mainstream social scientists. There is no doubt in my mind that the traditional models for doing research that have been advocated and promoted, roughly since the end of the nineteenth century, and particularly during the early twentieth century, after the introduction of new methods for statistical testing, are difficult to integrate in the body of psychoanalysis. But there is also no doubt in my mind that psychoanalysts can do research. The only question is, How do you do it? Theres also no doubt in my mind that psychoanalysis, in whatever guiseFreudian, Lacanian, or otherhas a strong empirical basis. During the 1950s Lacan constantly referred to lexprience psychanalytique [] so empiricism is definitely there [] and I dont think its a transcendental empiricism, of the kind that Deleuze advocated.

Its an empiricism that actually has a material ground, which [for] Lacan would be the signifier. If we are willing to engage with the possibility of doing research within psychoanalysis, the question is also, How are we going to define the actual process? which means, How are we going to define the design of the research? [] Thats probably the first thing that I would like you to clarify. If the psychoanalyst is to be a researcher, how can he or she be a researcher, in such a way that he or she remains a psychoanalyst, rather than becoming an extension of the traditional mainstream social scientist researcher? And my next question will be, if we want to be researchers how can we benefit from psychoanalysis in order to be researchers?


Thats not the first question. I think youre very right in starting with the note that the term, the concept of research, is a very ambiguous one and I think that it is a bit polluted lets say it like this, by, at least in psychology and psychiatry, by the type of research that has been known early on and that this was mostly behavioural research; research starting from behavioural therapy and what was typical for that type of research, there was not very much at that time, these guys really invented a new paradigm, to develop a new type of psychology and they started with very straightforward experiments with rats and conditioning and things like that, and they focused on the internal validity of their studies, meaning that they wanted to be sure that what they said was right, reflected an empirical reality and they excluded all kinds of noise with the result that we still have a type of experiment in psychology that is a kind of strange, it has nothing to do with the world, it is very systematised, very controlled, very rigorous, but it says little about the real world and I guess that psychoanalysts, they come from the real world, in the sense that they have patients and they listen to patients and they start from complexity, whereas in psychology and also in psychiatric research we tend to start from simple designs and this is a different world. I think that in the recent years, since there has been much more attention for a thing like ecological validity, meaning that researchers are concerned about the fact that the thing that we are testing, does it reflect something in reality and are our designs attuned to reality?

This question this is raising, and I guess that this bit is the point where for psychoanalysis it could become relevant when we design research, I can guess we will tend to focus on ecological validity rather than the internal validity. So the field has opened up and the same is true for the techniques. Say thirty or forty years ago the research methodology was much more restricted than it is nowadays and many of the psychoanalysts who are now in a practice and outside the academic world, they live in their minds with an idea for methodology that stems from the seventies and the sixties, but nowadays methodology has fundamentally changed and new things are going on and I guess that if you want to research we certainly should not return to older methodologies but try to connect to new possibilities. Thats the bit Im thinking about. DN: But isnt the problem with these traditional research designs that they are not at all adequate for psychoanalysis; Im tempted to ask you what new possibilities you have in mind that are actually attuned to psychoanalysis? Surely, the problem with traditional research designs is that they proceed from certain axiological assumptions that are very difficult to integrate, combine with psychoanalysis. Let me clarify this. One of the key epistemological assumptions that those traditional research designs make, and in a sense have to make, in order to generate knowledge that can be truthful, is that participantswe cant call them subjects any moredo not deceive themselves, and that they do not have thoughts of which they are unaware, for example, which are key aspects of psychoanalysis. As Malcolm Quinn pointed out at the beginning, that is exactly what psychoanalysis is. From the moment you try to set up some form of research that includes the assumption that the subject deceives himself, it becomes very difficult to make any solid progress. So how do you avoid not controlling the design in such a way that your very epistemology collapses and is no longer psychoanalytical? How do you do research outside the clinical setting in such a way that you are still a psychoanalyst when you do the research? Perhaps you could give an example of the new possibility youve spoken about that supersedes the problem of ecological validity, but perhaps also supersedes the other epistemological issues.

SV: Now the problem you touch upon is a very fundamental problem of course. First of all I think that the ambition of research within psychoanalysis should be humble. We will never test the correctness of psychoanalysis as such, when we do research we can only study fragments of psychoanalysis, fragments of actual thinking, fragments of conceptual thinking, fragments of analytic practice, so its not an overarching attempt that we try to do when we do research so it is limited. Thats important to take in mind, because otherwise it tends to become an ideology; like we can do everything with it. No, we can do a very limited amount of things with it but what we can do with it I guess is interesting. Now, there is of course the problem of the divided subject that we have to deal with but I think that we should try to integrate it in our project, in our studies, for example by speaking to people, speaking to subjects and bringing the discussion that we have with them, bringing them to a point that we really meet the limit. I can give you an example of a project that we have been doing in Ghent. For example we interviewed; we started from the idea of transference and of course the idea of transference and Freud is a very complex idea and when you really want to map aspects of transference you really end up with a list of fifteen typical ideas on transference. But we only took four of those ideas so we really simplified the transference construct by limiting ourselves to specific periods in Freuds work and then we looked at Freud, whether there is something typical of hysterical transference versus obsessional transference and thats our theoretical framework. At the next stage we started a study with psychiatric patients and we asked psychoanalysts, we interviewed those patients during two hours, just in a free unstructured clinical conversation. They were interviewed about what is your problem? and tell me about your life, and then two analysts made the diagnosis like; is this a typical case of obsessional neurosis; is it a typical case of hysterical neurosis. So we selected the cases that analysts thought were typically obsessional or typically hysterical. Then at the next stage we took those four criteria that Freud defined as typical for transference, for example that it is about the repetition of a specific desire or of a specific wish and we developed a coding scheme. We asked a panel that was independent from the two analysts that gave the diagnosis to judge the way they speak about other persons; which type of wish is returning and incidents that

are narrated about. They talk about their husbands, their mothers, their fathers, their therapists at the clinic and things like that so, is there a certain wish that comes to the fore. Then we had a very elaborate coding scheme with possible wishes, and those wishes were coded. Now what is the problem in this type of design for a classic researcher, that is that classic research starts from the idea that you take a big sample and you study a limited number of variables. What we had was a very limited sample and a bunch of variables and this is a point where current research methodology comes to our [aid] there are methods to examine and to work with this kind of complexity and to determine whether there are specific transferences, utterances, for an hysterical versus an obsessional person. This leads to a test whether there is something typical but it also brings up some results like; what is now the typical wish that is so typical for hysteria versus obsessional neurosis and this is perhaps something that is a bit surprising compared to your theory and at that level the study. The research process, challenges theory; it forces us to reflect about it and to reflect whether what we found how could it be consistent with theory or not? Lots of decisions are made and there are lots of limitations but we should say that from the beginning. Research is about making a decision, its about building in limitations and about well, we have to do it with the limitations, you should take them or you shouldnt do research. Its like, thats why I say that its not the solution for everything its something interesting but it has its own limitations. This is something that of course a clinical analyst will not need. A clinical analyst starts with a comprehensive understanding of what the patient is talking about, about the way he is acting and things like that, its very comprehensive while in research we have to limit ourselves and, even more, we have to divide the understanding of several persons, some do the diagnosis, others do the coding and things like that so its divided over several persons but it can help in studying something. DN: Im not sure whether I agree when you say that a psychoanalyst who is involved with clinical work is starting with a comprehensive understanding. There is a Freudian phrase that an analyst should always keep to the pace of the patients, which means that if you want to treat someone analytically you have to relinquish your previous knowledge, you have to relinquish the knowledge

that youve built up over time for all the other cases that youve treated. But its interesting to listen to you explaining the details. I nonetheless wonder whether you are not still trying to reconstruct some of the parameters of the clinical setting outside the clinical setting. The difference would obviously be that in your research project there is no clinical finality; its not a treatment process, but all the same its an unstructured interview. You allow the participants to start wherever they want, like the poet in the Homeric epic invites the Muse: start from where you will. SV: Absolutely. DN: And the difference would also be, of course, that you then proceed to code the information. SV: But not at the start. DN: The setting is broadly similar, then, to what a scientific setting would benot making too many assumptions at the start, intervening in a very limited way. SV: Yes, but I guess what is scientific about this approach is the fact that it is documentable. Everybody can follow the whole procedure, everybody can read the interview, everybody can check the criteria that is used to make a diagnosis, and everybody can check the criteria that are used in coding, so thats the difference. DN: Do you think that this can also be done with reference to clinical work. Im thinking of course of Luborskys Core Conflictual Relationship Theme Method. Quite a few researchers have tried to implement this type of approach with reference to the transference for example. SV: Yeah, yeah absolutely. MQ: If you could explain that to us it might be useful. DN: As part of his research into how psychotherapy works, Lester Luborsky, an American psychotherapist developed the so-called

Core Conflictual Relationship Theme Method, whereby he identified thematic patterns within a patients associations (or verbal communications to the therapist), with a view to developing systematised knowledge about the nature of the transference. Hence, the method allows for the codification of themes that occur during analysis with a view to developing and establishing a theory about different types of transference. Make no mistake, I have nothing against codifying as such, yet the method is problematic because it assumes that the most prominent themes in the patients discourse are also the most significant ones in his life history. As Freud suggests on a number of occasions, the most important themes of a patients life are those that appear in the margin of his discourse, or never actually appear at all, or only in a distorted fashion, because they fall under the spell of repression. Put differently, the most important themes are those that never occur; theyre the things you never talk about and how do you codify things you never talk about? So that is where the problem lies. How do you develop a theme of [transference] on the basis of what people say? You have to do it on the basis of what they never say; I dont know how they do that []. SV: I forgot what the questions about. DN: Well, the question is really about the comparative value, I think, of research designs that are implemented outside the clinical setting and those that are at work within the clinical setting, which is a very non-Freudian thing to say by the way because for Freud clinical treatment was, by definition, research. SV: I know, but then again, like Lester Luborsky, they say, they draw it from clinical practice but what is done, a session is recorded, if that is not an intervention within clinical work, I dont know. My opinion is, make a difference and we can inspire our research on the clinical practice but we shouldnt mix it up. I guess thats what Freud teaches me, when you mix it up it becomes a mess we had better treat them as two worlds apart. DN: The first issue I had is: how can one be a psychoanalyst and a researcher?



SV: I have a problem with my own research, that I just get, that this type of study is too much dependent again, on the decisions that a researcher makes. The researcher is there as someone who is not plagued, as it were, by other thoughts. As if the judgements of the researcher are controlled, thats an assumption that is made in the design that I sketched; as if the analysts can be correct at all in their judgement, as if the people who use the coding scheme can be correct as such, its an assumption in some way, like that they are not driven by their own issues in transference and things like that. Thats a bit of a problem I think in that example. DN: So how do you address the issue? SV: Now recently we tried to approach it differently and we really tried to develop a research design in which the researcher is hardly deciding anything. What we did was we interviewed a sample of clearly obviously depressed psychiatric patients, really depressed, another group of psychiatric patients that are judged as clearly neurotic by a clinician and who are not depressed at all; who have relation difficulties or something else, but not depressed at all. What we did, we interviewed them with an unstructured clinical interview and at the next stage we made some formulations, starting from our Lacanian theory. My idea was, for example, that what is typical for depression, I wrote an article on it in which I made some ideas on depression based on Lacans interpretation of Inhibition Symptom and Anxiety. One of the ideas was that depression implies a fixation of the ego, its something imaginary, its an imaginary fixation of the ego. So its an imaginary dialectic and what is typical for the imaginary is that, for example, it has to do with aggressivityit has to do with hate. These are assumptions that we can draw from Lacanian theory. What we did is we did a purely lexical examination of the interview. We mapped all words that people used in an interview and we checked whether there is evidence that, for example, that there is more speech about I and me and things like that, and this was something that was very obvious. Depressed persons have much more speech about I and me and much less speech about you and he and mother and father, so there is a kind of fixation on the I and the me. Then we also observed with the lexical analysis of words that

had to do with aggression, we met all the words in our language, Dutch, that have to do with aggression, hate and things like that and we checked whether those words were more typical for the depressed persons versus the non-depressed persons and we observed that first they had a much more elaborate aggressivity discourse and that aggressivity words were used much more often than in the non-depressed group. So this kind of excludes the wishful thinking and the clinical judgements which are also maybe biased by focusing on purely a study of the lexical appearance of typical signifiers. This is a design Im much more fond of right now. For example, focusing on the I is connected to aggressivity was, I guess, and interesting finding. DN: But how is your position as a researcher in this type of design different from that of previous designs? I can see how the methodology is different, but Im not sure I understand how your position as a researcher/analyst is different. You said that you decided to implement this design because you felt that in previous models too many decisions would have to be made. SV: We were too dependent on the ideas that the judges would be correct in judging a theme but they would be capable of rigorous straightforward interpretation of what a theme is about. Like, for example, is transference as love expressed or not, I mean what is love? If you ask two persons to quote whether love is involved or not, what is love? with one code and what is love? with the other code, so there is a problem with that. DN: So would you say that the second design is more [reductive]? SV: Yes in a certain sense it is more reductive but it is more focusing on what appears in the discourse itself, its less dependent on an interpretation, what I read in the discourse is more independent from the meaning that I attribute; the discourse is more a study of signifiers that are collected as such. DN: If we assume that what counts as research is not to be restricted to those classic positivistic projects that can be defined as research, if we assume that research can also be a process of



discovery that is geared towards challenging knowledge rather than towards the development of truthful knowledge and further understanding, if we define it in this way then inevitably we have to say that research takes place in a variety of different contexts and [] practices, including art. Now if the artist is a researcher, how can the artist [] benefit from psychoanalysis when it comes to engaging in his practice? SV: Well thats of course a very difficult question for me as Im not involved in the studies of art but I think that one answer is of course that Lacanian psychoanalytic research should not limit itself to a certain discipline. Im working within clinical psychology and I have to go in a dialogue with my colleagues in clinical psychology and that determines the type of design that Im choosing; the type of design that Im presenting over here enables me to fight with my colleagues and to discuss with my colleagues from cognitive departments. So it is determined by the field Im situating my own research in so thats why I refrained from taking an example from my own research in my paper because that would be kind of promoting, do like me and you will do Lacanian research its not at all like this, I guess that, for example in the arts, that there should be reflection on how, what could research be? DN: In that case, would you agree that research, doing research that deserves to be called research is not just about choosing a design, assuming a particular goal, but its do with adopting a certain position? SV: Absolutely, thats the clue of doing research. We have to adopt a certain attitude. DN: What would that attitude be? SV: Well the questioning of knowledge, refraining from cultivating the rich cultural references of psychoanalysis. When you study Lacan you could talk about a bit of everything but we shouldnt do that; we should challenge the ideas that we take from Lacan and confront them with discourses. Thats the clue, its what I call the ethical attitude of confronting the symbolic or imaginary constructions that we have, our theory, our seminars of Lacan

and no matter what, but we should take this knowledge to go in a clash with artists, with works of art, not to explain them but maybe something comes out of it by the clash between the disciplines. DN: I agree with that, but my question was really: what position could an artist possibly adopt in order to conduct research that is truthful to the principles of psychoanalysis? I dont expect you to come up with a straight answer, but in our confrontation perhaps you could explore certain aspects of what that position means? SV: Maybe I guess that an audience would be a very interesting thing to include when you ask that question, like what affect does art have on the audience? I think this is a very interesting question, not like the researcher and the work of art but art has something to do with society and with audiences, like, what is it doing there? and what is going on? Like for example a certain work of art may evoke horror in the audience and maybe this is an interesting thing to observe or an interesting thing to study. Like, which affect does this piece of art have or indifference in the audience so I think that this could be interesting to include. DN: What about the process of creation? Im sure that most artists would see their practice not just as a process of discovery or exploration but also as a process of creation, as opposed to manufacturing []. SV: Well a very difficult question I think. DN: Ive kept the difficult questions [until last]. SV: Obviously creation is very interesting. I think it shares something with what we should do, like not focussing on the anthropoidic, like what it is, but what is around it, yes. DN: Instead of creation I could have used invention which as a term is of course close to classical research. Does that make it easier to answer? SV: I dont know.

DN: Do you think that theres an aspect of creation, or re-creation locked in clinical work, or indeed in research that takes place outside the clinical setting, and that draws on clinical psychoanalytic processes? SV: I really see it as a two directional process, like maybe a bit like Lacan did with his discussion on Joyce. I dont think, and sometimes it was used like that by analysts like, well Lacan said that Joyce was a psychotic. DN: Great. SV: So I dont think that was Lacans inspiration it was more like that a guy like Joyce and the way he wrote and the way the function his art has, it explodes the concept of madness that we have from a psychiatric and even from a psychoanalytic point of view. It explodes our idea on psychosis but on the other hand, again Lacans categories of the real, imagined and symbolic, help us to capture something like, what is going on? in that very complex work and that very complex [oeuvre] of Joyce. DN: When you said, a moment ago, that you considered it to be a two way process, I thought you were going to say that the aspect of creation and invention would not just stem from the research of the analyst, whereby the subject/patient/ object would then be created, but also comes from the subject, and that in this way the analyst is actually constantly being created and recreated, which would very much tally with my experience in doing clinical work. Its not just about getting patients to think about it in those terms, its not just about creating a subject, allowing a subject to emerge in a patient, its also about being constructive, creative, re-creative in having to redevelop your own position; an endless process in conjunction with the other. You can never be an analyst; you can only try to become one in the process of doing analytical work. Perhaps that is something that artists can relate to as well; that when you create a work of art, what effectively happens is that, in creating the work of art, the artist is being created by the object that he or she is in the process of creating. Does that make sense to you?

SV: When I said two directional I really meant more like psychoanalysis and the artist, but you say the artist and his piece of art, that there is something going on between them. DN: Oh, I see what you mean. But perhaps the psychoanalyst is an artist; not all artists are psychoanalysts, of course, but perhaps the psychoanalyst, in pursuing the inchoate goal of being a psychoanalyst, could compare himself to an artist. For thirty years, Lacan tried to find models and frameworks in which to situate what it is to occupy the analytic position, from the Zen-master to Socrates, from the big Other to the object a, Lacan struggled to capture the particularity of the psychoanalytic position, and maybe we can do something useful with the idea that the psychoanalyst is in the position of the artist, who facilitates the creation of something new in the process of the direction of the treatment, whilst simultaneously being re-created as a result of this process. SV: Like his reference to Picasso. DN: Precisely, but Picasso used to say I dont seek, I find, a phrase Lacan was very fond of, although in his Seminar 24 he confessed At the point Im at now, I dont find as long as I dont seek. Maybe one doesnt have to do research in order to find something. And what is found is by no means always in accordance with what one was looking forits called serendipity. SV: But I guess that when you use research in that context it was really like, you have something in mind and you can go and look for it and then you will find exactly that. The saying is that it doesnt work like that its really by meeting the limits of what you think you are doing that bring you further in your work. Accidentally things turn up []. DN: I have one more question, observation, before we should allow the audience to comment. What, according to you, is the value of case studies because you did mention it in your paper? When I started teaching psychoanalysis and research long ago I didnt have a clue what I could talk about. The first thing that came to mind was case studies, lets talk about case study methodology. Is there still scope for case study research?


SV: Yes absolutely, but I was also tempted to start that way but it was a colleague of mine from a statistics department who said to me, go to Case Studies, there is a statistical way for doing cases and things like that. So I checked this literature but what I observed is that what is considered over there as a case study is something completely different compared to an analytic case study. For me a psychoanalytic case study is a work by a clinician who wants to orient his work with a particular patient. Its not about gaining knowledge on the disorientation of a patient, I dont know what, its a reflection on how the treatment should be oriented. For example on what has been going wrong in the treatment. So for me a clinical case study in psychoanalysis has a purely clinical finality and has nothing to do with developing knowledge or developing ideas and things like that. There is also, I think, a problem with Freuds case studies like, theyre also a mixture of both. From time to time I write a case study but it has nothing to do with my academic work it has to do with what, as a clinician, what should I do with that specific patient. DN: And you wouldnt consider that to be research? SV: Its clinical work, its not research, no, because when you read case studies in scientific literature in psychology and psychiatry and things like that, what they call a case study is completely different. This is really about controlling and about pre-measure and post-measure and things like that, so they can judge what has been going on and things like that. The psychoanalytic case study is too valuable to put it in the role of research; I wouldnt do it.


03 Eros and Knowledge: Wishful Thinking?

Dr James Hellings, Lecturer in Fine Art Theoretical and Contextual Studies, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University


in the first years of his psychoanalytic research, Freud shared the conventional rationalistic belief that knowledge was intellectual, theoretical knowledge. He thought that it was enough to explain to the patient why certain developments had taken place, and to tell him what the analyst had discovered in his unconscious. This intellectual knowledge, called interpretation, was supposed to effect a change in the patient. But soon Freud and other analysts had to discover the truth of Spinozas statement that intellectual knowledge is conductive to change only inasmuch as it is also affective knowledge. Discovering ones unconscious is, precisely, not only an intellectual act, but also an affective experience. The process of discovering the unconscious can be described as a series of ever-widening experiences, which are felt deeply and which transcend theoretical, intellectual knowledge. In this article I will strive to overturn and displace the traditional image of the (academic/clinical) researcher as a neutral and objective, detached and unaffected, figure. My aim is to elucidate the conditions of possibility for a new model of engagement encompassing art, aesthetics, philosophy and psychoanalysis. My hypothesis is that a deeper understanding of the dialectical play of eros and knowledge is crucial if one is to achieve this aim of a radically interdisciplinary research practice. I: Knowledge Contra Eros For Freud, the major shibboleth separating psychoanalytic knowledge from philosophical lies in what he terms:
The division of the psychical into what is conscious and what is unconscious [which] is the fundamental premise of psychoanalysis. [] consciousness [is] a quality of the psychical [].



To most people who have been educated in philosophy the idea of anything psychical which is not also conscious is so inconceivable that it seems to them absurd and refutable simply by logic.

rationality. To correct this one-sidedness we need only to invoke, as Freud frequently did, the Eros of the divine Plato. II: Eros and Knowledge Plato does not draw a philosophical distinction between eros and knowledge, choosing rather to define the pursuit and practice of philosophy as the love of wisdom.14 Spinoza comes close to Platos coupling in his own summum bonum of intuitive knowledge15 that is not purely intellectual16 engendering, as it does, an intellectual love (of God, or Nature).17 Kierkegaard admires the divine madness,18 of this passionate concentration, this intense consciousness19 particular to Platonists (and Spinozists) a comportment encapsulated by Gillian Rose:
Philosophy is a passion. [] To be a philosopher you need only three things. First, infinite intellectual eros: endless curiosity about everything. Second, the ability to pay attention: to be rapt by what is in front of you without seizing it yourself, the care of concentration []. Third, acceptance of pathlessness (aporia): that there may be no solutions to questions, only the clarification of their statement. Eros, attention, acceptance.20

In the allegedly progressive age of enlightenment, to be subjects of anything other than the science of logic and the sovereignty of reasonserious intellectual knowledgerepresents an absurd 4 regression back into barbarism, to self-incurred immaturity. In varying ways Kant and Hegel dissociated interested and (un) conscious desire (eros) from the disinterested and mature practice of philosophy (knowledge) and this excluding of the emotions affects and passions, love and erosfrom logical reasoning shows no signs of abating.5 The revelation that there is more meaning in the subject than itself acknowledges and that consequently the production of knowledge relies equally on affective and intellectual registers are but two of Freuds lessons philosophy would do well to take seriously. No doubt philosophy, since Freuds discovery of the unconscious, has done much to correct its own blindspotstriving to reclaim the power of this unconscious thinking, this dialectic of eros and knowledge, variously witnessed in the following conceptualisations; libidinal rationality,6 affective reading,7 the Passion of thought,8 passionate curiosity,9 aesthetic comportment,10 the aesthetic unconscious as the thought that does not think and/or 11 sensible knowledge. In each formula thought addresses itself beyond thought, to the outside of thought or the nonthought within thought. These philosophical efforts toward reconciling knowledge with eros areI believecomparable to Freuds later metapsychological research.12 Without wishing to undermine the originality of Freuds discovery and its accompanying challenge to (philosophical) knowledge, it is a relatively simple affair to show how an alternative line of thought drawn from the history of philosophy may offer its own rejoinder. It is to the detriment of certain modern philosophies to have wilfully repressed what they took to be their disciplines' dirty little secretsspeculative metaphysics and aesthetics, fantasy and mythologyin an almost fanatical quest toward absolute enlightenment via the dominant form of

In each of the aforementioned accounts philosophy is so far removed from the clinical coldness of a certain academicism to be almost unrecognizable as Philosophy. Paradoxically, practicing balanced research in this tradition of thought requires an imbalanced fidelity to ones own emotional interest. The sine qua non of this economy of feeling and thinking through the shock and/or shudder of affects and passions is openness to external influence. Eros attests to the impossibility of sureness of self, of solipsism and settled knowledge thereof. Martha Nussbaum has, perhaps, done most to argue, that practical reasoning unaccompanied by emotion is not sufficient for practical wisdom; that emotions are not only not more unreliable than intellectual calculations, but frequently are more reliable, and less deceptively seductive. Emotions, for Nussbaum, are neither irrational, nor, non-cognitive, nor are they mere instances of false reasoning, because the subject is not fully mature, autonomous. The divine madness of this eros or passion



for knowledge engenders a practical philosophy, which locates in the emotions a cognitive dimension, a form of thinking.24 Rather than banishing the emotions from philosophy, dividing eros and knowledge, Nussbaum seeks to reinstate them and in so doing valueslike Freud et al.the, uncontrolled things outside the agent.25 The emotions ought not to be seen as debilitating thought, but rather thought only thinks when it is constrained, when it is cut through by the unexpected, when it is shocked by the emotions or uncontrolled events, precisely.26 The intelligence of emotions lies in creating and resonating with upheavals of thought.27 Nussbaum is not attempting to privilege some form of anti-philosophy. Rather, her effortlike Freuds and my ownis merely to reconfigure the relation between thought and love, knowledge and erosto expose philosophys dependence on and immersion in the emotions whereby the conditions of possibility for new models of engagement for researchers may be established.28 The power to philosophise comes from being interested and impassioned, from openness, exposure and vulnerabilitythere is no knowledge without eros.29 III:  Aesthetic Cultivation or the Art of Erotic Knowledge? Freud could not sublimate his own desire to subject art(ists) to knowledgeinterpreting artists, their works and their reception. Although in equal measure mythologising and pathologising Freuds psycho-biographical research and analysis of art(ists) may be understood as a prototypical psychoanalytic aesthetic thought. Essential to this principled over-interpretation30 is an element of exaggeration, of over-shooting the object, of self-detachment from the weight of the factual.31 That Freud is only able to conceptualise the unconscious through aesthetics, through thinking art, is an argument convincingly put forward by Rancire. It is not Freuds clinical work with patients but his critical encounters with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Jensen, Goethe et al, which most successfully shows, that there is meaning in what seems not to have any meaning, something enigmatic in what seems self-evident, a spark of thought in what appears to be an anodyne detail. [] [These texts] are testimony to the existence of a particular relation between thought and non-thought.32

Aesthetics is, therefore, the mode of thought which best expresses the dialectical play of eros and knowledge, affect and intellect, emotion and thought. If artworks are forms of research, if [] art itself thinks,33 then aesthetics is neither the history nor the theory of art but this thought of art: a logic of sense or sensible knowledgethe clear but nonetheless confused or indistinct knowledge that can be contrasted with the clear and distinct knowledge of logic.34 Rancire continues,
Freud calls on art [] to bear positive witness on behalf of the profound rationality of fantasy and lend support to a science that claims, in a certain way, to put fantasy, poetry, and mythology back within the fold of scientific rationality. 35

Things (art), the thought that accompanies them (aesthetics) together with their subject (aesthetic comportment), thus constitute the privileged locus for a productive engagement between eros and knowledge. It is in the intermediary realm between eros and disinterested contemplation of the work that the images whose essence is art crystallize.36 There is a political urgency to this new model of engagementAdornos aesthetic cultivationinsofar as the shocks and shudders effectuated in, [] artworks correspond to the objective need for a transformation of consciousness that could become a transformation of reality.37 Being alive to the clash of psychic forces is, for Adorno, the most rigorous aspect of Freuds psychoanalytic theory. 38 Art holds true to the shudder, but not by regression to it. Rather, art is its legacy.39 This shudder and shock is the moment in which recipients forget themselves and disappear into the work; it is the moment of being shaken.40 The aesthetic shudder [] cancels the distance held by the subject.41 Specific to art, its thought and experience is an enigmaticalness,42 which is also described by Adorno as, two lost in one another.43 In striving to make the unconscious conscious, this intimacy with objects (of knowledge) or as Freud renders it this insatiable craving for knowledge,44 is how the traditional image of the (academic/clinical) researcher as a neutral and objective, detached and unaffected, figure is displaced if not overturned.
Ultimately, aesthetic comportment is to be defined as the capacity to shudder, as if goose bumps were the first

aesthetic image. [] Consciousness without shudder is reified consciousness. That shudder in which subjectivity stirs without yet being subjectivity is the act of being touched by the other. Aesthetic comportment assimilates itself to that other rather than subordinating it. Such a constitutive relation of the subject to objectivity in aesthetic comportment joins eros and knowledge.45

If as Freud affirms there is an objective alliance between the psychoanalyst and the artist,46 then it is, perhaps, not wishful thinking to suppose that this tie relies on an aesthetic comportment that springs forth from the dialectical play of eros and knowledge, an understanding of which might just provide the conditions of possibility for a new model of engagement with research in the arts and humanities.

End Notes
1.  Erich Fromm, Beyond the Chains of Illusion: My Encounter with Marx and Freud (New York: Continuum, 2009), p. 73-4. Hereafter cited as BCI. and furthering understanding, that it to say with a view to producing knowledge that is allegedly truthful. This conversation is part of an AHRC funded project convened by Malcolm Quinn and entitled, Rigorous Holes: Perspectives on Psychoanalytic Theory in Art and Performance Research, jointly supported by University of Arts: Wimbledon, London and Brunel University.

2.  I take my cue from the following observation made by Dany Nobus in conversation with Stijn Vanheule, You started by saying that Lacanian psychoanalysts, and perhaps we shouldnt restrict it to Lacanians, have tended to be quite squeamish and perhaps 3. S  igmund Freud, The Ego and even aversive when it comes the Id, ed. and trans. James to doing research []I think Strachey, Standard Edition XIX its to do with the fact that the (London: Vintage, 2001), p. 13. term research has very strong Hereafter cited as EI. connotations or conjures up images of an allegedly 4. I mmanuel Kant, An Answer detached and neutral figure to the Question: What is who approaches a particular Enlightenment? in Kant: object on the basis of carefully Political Writings, ed. Hans crafted methodologically; Reiss, trans. H. B. Nisbet rigorous processes with a view (Cambridge: Cambridge to generating new knowledge University Press, 1970), p. 54.

5.  To be subject to affects and 9. M  ichel Foucault, The Use passions is probably always of Pleasure: The History of an illness of mind because both Sexuality; Volume Two, trans. affect and passion exclude Robert Hurley (London: the sovereignty of reason. Penguin, 1985), p. 8. Immanuel Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of 10. T  heodor W. Adorno, Aesthetic View, trans. Victor Lyle Theory, eds. Gretel Adorno Dowdell (Carbondale & and Rolf Tiedemann, trans. Edwardsville: Southern Illinois Robert Hullot-Kentor (London: University Press, 1978), The Athlone Press, 1997), p. 155. A thought cannot be pp. 330-1. Hereafter cited loved. G. W. F. Hegel, The as AT. Spirit of Christianity, in Early Theological Writings, trans. 11.  Jacques Rancire, The Aesthetic T. M. Knox (Philadelphia: Unconscious, trans. Debra University of Pennsylvania Keates and James Swenson Press, 1975), p. 247. (Cambridge: Polity, 2009), p. 5. Hereafter cited as AU. 6. H  erbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical 12. In the works of my later years Inquiry into Freud (London: (Beyond the Pleasure Principle Routledge, 1987), p. 199. [1920g], Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego 7. G  illes Deleuze, Spinoza: [1921c], and The Ego and Practical Philosophy, trans. the Id [1923b]), I have given Robert Hurley (San Francisco: free rein to the inclination, City Light Books, 1988), p. 129. which I kept down for so long, to speculation, and 8.  Gilles Deleuze, The Logic I have also contemplated of Sense, ed. Constantin a new solution of the problem V. Boundas, trans. Mark of the [drives]. Sigmund Lester with Charles Stivale Freud, An Autobiographical (London: Continuum, 1990), Study, ed. and trans. James p. 74. Passion, for Deleuze, Strachey, Standard Edition XX engenders thinking in thought. (London: Vintage, 2001), p. 57. Passion is, a compulsion to think. Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (London: The Athlone Press 1994), p. 147. Deleuzes fundamental effort is therefore, [] of giving emotional fullness or passion back to the intellectual process. Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (London: The Athlone Press, 1989), p. 158.


13.  Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality, ed. and trans. James Strachey, Standard Edition VII (London: Vintage, 2001), p. 134. Here we are dealing with the ultimate things which psychological research can learn about: the behaviour of the two primal [drives], their distribution, mingling and defusion. () Eros and the death-[drive]. Sigmund Freud, Analysis Terminable and Interminable, ed. and trans. James Strachey, Standard Edition XXIII (London: Vintage, 2001), pp. 242-3. Eros is the mischief-maker which does not negate but affirms and preserves life(See Sigmund Freud, Negation, ed. and trans. James Strachey, Standard Edition XIX (London: Vintage, 2001), p. 239 and Beyond the Pleasure Principle, ed. and trans. James Strachey, Standard Edition XVIII (London: Vintage, 2001), p. 54 and Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood, ed. and trans. James Strachey, Standard Edition XI (London: Vintage, 2001), p. 70)by drawing and binding things together (See Beyond the Pleasure Principle, pp. 43, 50 and The Ego and the Id, p. 40). Eros is a synonym for Freuds enlarged concept of sexuality (See Three Essays, p. 134). In its origin, function, and relation to sexual love, the Eros of the philosopher Plato coincides exactly with the love-force, the libido of psychoanalysis [] and when the apostle Paul, in his famous epistle to the Corinthians, praises love above all else, he certainly understands it in the same wider sense. [] I cannot see any merit in being ashamed of sex; the Greek word Eros,

which is to soften the affront, is in the end nothing more than a translation of our German word Liebe [love]. Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, ed. and trans. James Strachey (London: Vintage, 2001), p. 91. 14.  Plato, Phaedrus, in The Collected Dialogues, eds. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989) 252e (p. 499). Hereafter cited as P. See James Hellings, The Love of Thought: Essays on Freud, Adorno and Deleuze (University of London: Senate House Library (PhD Thesis), 2008). The Phaedrus: the best view of love bases it on a view of the individual as essentially constituted by values and aspirations. This is not a description of what passionate love in general is like. It is a description of the best type of passion. Socrates argues that this sort of mad passion for another individual is an essential part of the best human life and the way that passion best figures in a good life. This is also supposed to be the best way in which love loves an individual. [] Love and sexuality (at least in good people) are themselves selective and aspiring. What excites the passion, makes him shudder and tremble, is the perception of something that answers to the desires of his soul. [] The crucial first step toward truth and knowledge comes when the stream of beauty that enters in at the eyes is allowed to moisten and melt the solid dry elements of the soul. Only then does the soul begin to have insight into

itself and its aims. Martha C Nussbaum, Loves Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 324-5. Hereafter cited as LK. 15. B  aruch de Spinoza, Ethics, in The Collected Works of Spinoza: Volume I, ed. and trans. Edwin Curley (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985) E, IIP40SCHOL2IV. Hereafter cited as E. 16.  Philosophy, for Plato, is a kind of vision, the vision of truth. It is not purely intellectual; it is not merely wisdom, but love of wisdom, Spinozas intellectual love of God is much the same intimate union of thought and feeling. Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 124. 17. S  pinoza, E, VP32COR. 18. S  ren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling: Dialectical Lyric, eds. and trans. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), p.23. Hereafter cited as FT.

19. K  ierkegaard, FT, p. 79. 20. G  illian Rose, Paradiso (London: Menard Press, 1999), p. 31. 21.  All questions posed by the intellect are determined by our interest. This interest, far from being opposed to knowledge, is its very condition, provided it is blended with reason. Fromm, BCI, p. 117. 22. T  o grow in love-ability is to accept the boundaries of oneself and others, while remaining vulnerable, woundable, around the bounds. [] No human being possesses sureness of self: this can only mean being bounded and unbounded, selved and unselved, sure only of this untiring exercise. [] This is not love of suffering, but the work, the power of love. Gillian Rose, Loves Work (London: Chatto and Windus, 1995) pp. 98, 125-6. 23. Nussbaum, LK, p. 40. 24. Ibid., p. 42. 25. Ibid., LK, p. 42.


26.  Ibid., LK, 43. In short, Aristotle does not make a sharp split between the cognitive and the emotive. Emotion can play a cognitive role, and cognition, if it is to be properly informed, must draw on the work of the emotive elements. [] we might say that a person of practical insight will cultivate emotional openness and responsiveness in approaching a new situation. Frequently, it will be her passional response, rather than detached thinking, that will guide her to the appropriate recognitions. [] The emotions are themselves modes of vision, or recognition. Their responses are part of what knowing, that is truly recognizing or acknowledging, consists in. [] Aristotle tells us in no uncertain terms that people of practical wisdom, both in public and in private life, will cultivate emotion and imagination in themselves and others, and will be very careful not to rely too heavily on a technical or purely intellectual theory that might stifle or impede these responses. They will promote an education that cultivates fancy and feeling through works of literature and history, teaching appropriate occasions for and degrees of response. They will consider it childish and immature not to cry or be angry or otherwise to experience and display passion where the situation calls for it. In looking for private models and public leaders, we should desire to be assured of their sensitivity and emotional depth, as well as of their intellectual competence. Nussbaum, LK, pp. 78-9, 82.

27.  See Martha C. Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of the Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 1-16. Hereafter cited as UT. 28. Nussbaum, LK, p. 284. 29.  We are to see persons as centers of choice and freedom, but also as needy and demanding of care, as both independent and dependent. Nussbaum, UT, p. 580. 30.  Theodor W. Adorno, The Essay as Form, in Notes to Literature: Volume One, ed. Rolf Tiedemann, trans. Shierry Weber Nicholsen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), p. 4. 31.  Theodor W. Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life, trans. E. F. N. Jephcott (London: Verso, 1974) p. 126. Hereafter cited as MM. In psycho-analysis nothing is true except the exaggerations. Ibid., p. 49. Aesthetic comportment is the capacity to perceive more in things than they are. Adorno, AT, p. 330. 32. Rancire, AU, p. 3. 33. Adorno, AT, p. 99. 34. Rancire, AU, p. 5. 35. Ibid., p. 49. 36.  Theodor W. Adorno, On An Imaginary Feuilleton, in Notes to Literature: Volume Two, ed. Rolf Tiedemann, trans. Shierry Weber Nicholsen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), p. 34.

37. Adorno, AT, p. 243. 38. T  heodor W. Adorno, Sociology and Psychology (Part I), in New Left Review, Vol. I, No.46, November-December 1967, p. 75. Hereafter cited as SPI. Adorno believes psychoanalysis has particularly in its American manifestation whereby professional counsellors of soul-guidance offer psychotherapyregressed to an unfounded idealism peddling the power of positive thinking, which is really little more than a cult of psychology. Adorno, SPI, pp. 76, 97 and Theodor W. Adorno, Sociology and Psychology (Part II), in New Left Review, Vol. I, No. 47, January-February 1968, pp. 96-7. Hereafter cited as SPII. For Adorno, like Marcuse, society is sick and so the fundamental premise of psychoanalysiscuring analysands of their sickness or helping them adapt and integrate successfully into (sick) societyrepresents a double misfortune. Even the successful cure bears the stigma of pathologically exaggerated, self-defeating adjustment. The triumph of the ego [Where id was, there ego shall be] is a particularist delusion. This is why all psychotherapy is prompted to become objectively untrue and therapists are frauds. In adjusting to the mad whole the cured patient becomes really sickwhich is not to imply that the uncured are any healthier. Adorno, SPI, 78. Psychoanalysis in its most authentic and by now already obsolete form comes into its

own as a report on the forces of destruction rampant in the individual amidst a destructive society. Adorno, SPII, pp. 95-6. 39. Adorno, AT, p. 118. 40. Ibid., p. 244. 41. Ibid., AT, p. 269. 42. Ibid., AT, p. 286. 43. Ibid., AT, p. 247. 44.  Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, ed. and trans. James Strachey, Standard Edition XXI (London: Vintage, 2001), p. 72. 45. Adorno, AT, p. 331. 46.  Rancire, AU, p. 46. For Freud, artists and psychoanalysts work from the same source: the unconscious. They are both attempts to know. Lacan will turn the screw of this economy by suggesting that the artwork itself occupies a similar position to the analyst. On this latter point see In the Place of an Object, eds. Sharon Kivland and Marc du Ry (London: CFAR, 2000).



04 Desire Research
Dr Lucille Holmes, Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland


the artist is a researcher, how can the artist benefit from psychoanalysis when engaging in an art practice? This question, asked in the conversation between psychoanalysts Stijn Vanheule and Dany Nobus as part of the AHRC collaborative doctoral training programme entitled Rigorous Holes: Perspectives in Psychoanalytic Theory in Art and Performance Research, contains within it another question of whether the artist is a researcher? The first question asks to be addressed alongside the main focus of the enquiry as to how psychoanalysis can contribute to an artists practice and research. The question of whether an art practice constitutes research is entirely valid since it has been the subject of debate amongst artists and art educators since the late 1980s and remains so today. In one of the few historical surveys of this subject, Judith Mottrams essay Researching Research in Art and Design (2009) tracks this relatively short history of research in art and design practice in UK academic institutions. As Mottram tells it, the confusion about the relationship of creative activity and research activity reached a highpoint in 1989 when the Council for National Academic Awards Research Committee for Art and Design announced that creative work was not scholarly activity.1 Although the academic institutional position changed from 1992 on, the year UK Research Assessment Exercise provided the opportunity for research and creative work to be deemed equivalent, the uncertainty about what research in art and design practice has not disappeared. Such uncertainty is as evident in New Zealand universities as in the UK, where this year my faculty of the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries hosted a series of debates on contentious issues relevant to the creative arts, one in particular was titled Analysis Creates Paralysis: Investigating Creative Practice Kills The Creative Process Itself. Evident in the title alone is the close


connection between New Zealand tertiary art education with its counterpart in the UK, for as Mottrams paper also documents, the phrase analysis leads to paralysis within the context of art education is from a paper by Alan Livingstone presented in a 1988 conference in London on research in art and design education (Ibid). While Livingstones paper makes the point that it is a mistake to see paralysis as the outcome of analysis, it has not dispelled the insistence of such questions in higher education around whether creative practice can or should involve research. Christopher Fraylings well-known ternary categorisation in 2 1993 of research into art (the research informs the creative practice), research through art (the research is implicated in the creative practice) and research as art (the research is the creative practice), has organised many of the key factors in the debates on research and creative practice.3 In a recent review of his three models, Frayling maintains that research into art is still the prevalent model, while research through art is growing, but research as art has yet to be understood and achieved.4 In each of the three models of research in art, and particularly with the third, there are specific problems and confusions which engender further debate, of which the most predominant are the relationship between the making and the writing, the use of theory, supervision and assessment, and what some writers in the field call the self-consciousness of the artist researcher.5 Taken all together, these undeveloped yet emergent areas in art education show that the question of how art can be understood as research is one that the field continues to ask. Writing on the philosophical problems of the three research models, James Elkins contends that since there are no established guidelines for assessing the first two, it is not yet possible to define research as art.6 The reasons Elkins has for making this claim can be rendered as epistemological problems constituting two connected themes: the knowledge of art and the subject of art. For Elkins the crucial problem is how to assess the research of all three models since the artist researchers use of other disciplines is for the art practice, to which the scholarly criteria of truth, the production of new knowledge, clarity, and scholarly protocol are not applicable. The second related theme concerns the subjectivity of the artist researcher, for of far more importance to the artist than truth as fact or the production of new knowledge, is how the learning from any discipline is used in the artists creative practice.

The artists research, including its written documentation, is not aimed at developing and furthering knowledge in a field but instead at identifying and critically reflecting upon whatever is of significance for the artist in her practice. However, this requirement for the artist to have some knowledge of her own desire in relation to her practice and to articulate and critically reflect on those research desires, is perceptively described by Elkins as a simple, almost invisible, yet enormous problem which has no solution because [a]rtists seldom know exactly why they want to see a given image or master a given body of knowledge (Ibid). Read from a psychoanalytic position, the subjects desire is always unconscious because it is bound up with the question of the Others desirewhat does the Other want from me?and so in the process of asking this question the subject is led to ask about his own desire.7 Because my desire has been unconsciously shaped by the message I have received from the Other, I am able to find my own desire through the locus of the Other, that is, in the signifiers of my speech through which desire moves and in the gaps within that speech which require me to ask, who is speaking? The problem Elkins identifies is indeed significant for the artist researcher who, like any subject, does not know why certain things seem interesting and others do not. Staying with this dilemma for the student artist of not knowing much at all about the desire he is required to know about, Elkins shows how the problem of the subjects unknown desire is necessarily tied to the problem of the knowledge of art, specifically supervision and ultimately assessment, for if a studio-art instructor has a hard time figuring out how to direct a student, how much less likely is it that an art historian or a philosopher [etc] will have a better idea?8 Elkins ends his discussion by specifying two requirements for his undertaking supervision of a PhD in studio art: that the potential candidate can explain the reasons for the focus of her research and that the supervisor roles are defined on the basis of those reasons. Elkinss critical analysis of research in art must be given due consideration for drawing attention to the way creative practice, when conceived of as research, exposes how knowledge is both impeded and transformed by desire. My point of difference with Elkins lies only with the proposal that there is no solution or, rather, method for the student artist to know more about why certain images, ideas or objects elicit

their desire. In Lacans description of the aim and end of analysis, the analysand can adumbrate his situation in a field made up of rediscovered knowledge only if he has previously experienced the limit within which, like desire, he is bound.9 At the end of analysis, the analysand has worked through the trajectory of his identifications and locates a distance between those identifications and his own desire.10 Could the desire to conduct research in art benefit from psychoanalysis not only as a theory but as a practice in 11 which the researcher takes part? In Lacans text on the direction of psychoanalysis, he outlines the steps in the analytic process which, as my interpolations indicate, would be beneficial for the artist researcher. 1. t  hat speech possesses all the powers here. Some student artists find it difficult to talk about their practice, yet research requires the researcher to communicate his research; talking about it the practice can tangibly support the written component of the research. 2.  that, with the fundamental rule of psychoanalysis, the analyst is far from directing the subject toward full speech, or toward a coherent discourserather the analyst leaves the subject free to have a go at it. Unconscious desire can be located in the cuts in discourse, which are too easily concealed by the usual scholarly and social requirements of coherency and agency. 3. t  hat this freedom is what the subject tolerates least easily. Free association can be very difficult, which to a large extent justifies the obstacle Elkins sees for the student entering doctoral research in studio art. 4.  that demand is exactly what is bracketed in analysis; it being ruled out that the analyst satisfy any of the subjects demands. If the aim of an analysis for art education is for the subject to know something about and be able to articulate her desire in relation to her creative practice, the analysis must be directed at encouraging the movement of the subjects desire rather than bringing it to a halt with knowledgeable interpretations. 5. t  hat since no obstacle is put in the way of the subjects owning of his desire, it is toward this owning that he is directed.12

The aim of an analysis gives an answer to another question posed in the conversation between Venheule and Nobus: what position could an artist adopt to conduct research that is truthful to the principles of psychoanalysis? One of those principles of the subject owning his desire can be clearly located in the emergent principles for art research. If I were to propose a title for a prerequisite course of analysis which would fulfil Elkinss enrolment requirements and be truthful to the principles of psychoanalysis, it would be Desire Research.

End Notes
1. J  udith Mottram, Researching Research in Art and Design, in Artists with PhDs: On the New Doctoral Degree in Studio Art, ed. by James Elkins, (Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2009) pp. 3-30. 6. J  ames Elkins, The Three Configurations of Studio-Art PhDs, in Artists with PhDs, ed. by Elkins pp. 145-165 (p. 61).

7. J  acques Lacan, The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious, in crits: The 2. C  hristopher Frayling, Research First Complete Edition in in Art and Design, Royal English, trans. Bruce Fink (New College of Art Research Papers, York: W.W. Norton, 2006), 1:1 (1993) pp. 1-5. pp. 671-702, (p. 690). 3.  Here I am using James Elkinss extended definition of Fraylings categories in Elkins, op.cit. 8.  James Elkins, The Three Configurations of Studio-Art PhDs, in Artists with PhDs, ed. by Elkins, p. 163.

4.  Christopher Frayling, Foreword 9.  Jacques Lacan, The Four in Thinking Through Art: Fundamental Concepts of Reflections on Art as Research, Psychoanalysis, ed. by J.A. ed. by Katie Macleod and Lin Miller, trans. A. Sheridan, Holdridge (New York: (New York: W.W. Norton, 1998 Routledge, 2006), pp. xiii-xiv. [1964]), p. 276: my emphasis. 5.  Katy Macleod. and Lin Holdridge, Introduction, in Thinking Through Art, ed. by Macleod and Holdridge, pp. 1-14, (pp. 2-3). 10. Ibid., 271-3. 11.  The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power[1958], in Lacan, crits, ed. by Fink, pp. 489-542. 12. Ibid., p. 535.



05 Engimas of Research: Psychoanalysis and/as Culture

Professor Griselda Pollock, CentreCATH, University of Leeds


part of Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History (known as CentreCATH), a transdisciplinary initiative across fine art, histories of art and critical cultural studies, focussing on questions of difference, I regularly organize research salons and seminars as part of a programme of advanced research training across fine art, histories of art and cultural studies. One of the major strands of this engagement with critical development of research is psychoanalysis and aesthetics, which impinges variously but deeply on all three areas. Hence I feel I am already trying to operate in the sphere in which the dual question of research in art and design and psychoanalysis as a possible resource is being posed. During one of CentreCATHs research salons in 2008-09, we closely read Jean Laplanche New Foundations for Psychoanalysis. Laplanche identifies four sites of psychoanalysis or what he glosses as psychoanalytical experience: the clinical, the extra-mural, the theoretical, and the historical.1 Laplanche usefully dispenses with the binary division between clinical and extra-clinical which can only ever revolve around a hierarchy of priority or a conflict between true and applied. By suggesting that clinical practice, with its continuous engagement with the work of analysis, is but one of several sites of the experience of psychoanalysis, we can begin to specify operations particular to the work of psychoanalysis in these various locations. I would add to Laplanches list a fifth: the aesthetic domain. Extramural psychoanalytical experience is not applied psychoanalysis: When psychoanalysis moves away from the clinical context, it does not do so as an afterthought, or to take up 2 side issues. It does so in order to encounter cultural phenomena.

Although this may involve interpretative and speculative aspects, Laplanche insists that psychoanalysis invades the cultural not 3 only as a form of thought or a doctrine, but as a mode of being.
40 41

As a cultural movement itself, psychoanalysis encounters people not merely as those who can be defined by its frameworks, but as people marked culturally by it: by psychoanalysis itself as a cultural event. Thus any discussion of psychoanalysis in advanced research in art and design is not a matter of the application of a theoretical paradigm to another domain, but a form of mutual reflection and interrogation of spaces and processes that share a status as both cultural and auto-questioning about conditions of meaning and subjectivity. In 1979, Anthony McCall, with Claire Pajaczkowska, Andrew Tyndall and Jane Weinstock made a film titled Sigmund Freuds Dora: A Case of Mistaken Identity. The film prefaces the critical cinematic restaging of three analytical sessions between Freud and Dora (Ida Bauer) detailed in Freuds Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (1905 [1901], Standard Edition Vol.7, pp. 1-122), with a womans mouth speaking. Beside her partially revealed face is a text box in which a chronology is plotted out linking the events in Freuds and Doras lives to major historical and cultural events between 1880 and 1905. The woman speaks a reported dialogue that includes the Lacanian phrasing: He says that, but what does he want? Of course, such a phrasing inevitably recalls Freuds exasperated question of 1933 to Marie Bonaparte: what does a woman want?4 The question of desire is, according to Lacan, always the question of the desire of the Other for which several impersonators provisionally stand in, while desire is precisely the mark of the excess over any possible satisfaction that renders it eternally impossible. Desire is furthermore the mark of language that humanizes and sexes us as speaking beings. Thus any engagement between research and psychoanalysis always turns back onto the desire of the researching subject. Remember Jacques Derridas lengthy examination of Yerushalmis research into psychoanalysis in the formers Archive Fever. There Derrida takes Yerushalmi to task for trying to undertake historical research into psychoanalysis apsychoanalytically.
To want to speak about psychoanalysis, to claim to do the history of psychoanalysis from a purely apsychoanalytical point of view, purified of all psychoanalysis, to the point of believing that one could erase the traces of a Freudian impression, is like claiming the right to speak without

knowing what one is speaking about, without even wanting to hear anything about it. This structure is not only valid for the history of psychoanalysis, it is valid at least for all so-called social or human sciences.5

Behind this arcane Lacanian structuralism that insists upon acknowledging the force of desire in any pursuit of knowledge, lies Freuds founding text about art and research, namely the study of Leonardo da Vinci.6 It is in fact a crucial text about research itself. Freud sought to explain under what psychic formation Leonardo da Vinci, an artist with an exquisite artistic capability progressively failed to invest in that activity, leaving paintings incomplete, while becoming more and more engaged in scientific research. He noted as well the charm of the man and a homosexual disposition that appears to have remained relatively inactive. The case tantalises Freud to seek psychoanalytical interpretation for such a diversion of investment and leads him to the concept of different forms of derouting sexuality, in Leonardos case, through a creative sublimation. Freuds thesis retrospectively links our interest in academic or artistic research to infantile researches which are always sexual in nature: i.e. asking What is the nature of sexual difference? while also showing how its later deflection into intellectually-oriented research is powered by varying degrees of sublimation of sexuality.7 This brings me back to Laplanche. Laplanche himself returned to Freuds apparent abandonment of his initial theory of seduction. Laplanche re-theorized seduction as the inevitable effect of the infants traumatising encounter with the unconscious of the always-already sexual adult through whose caring ministrations the child is kept alive. Thus Laplanche redefines the drive as an effect of the implantation of the enigmatic signifier (the engima of the adult sexual unconscious encountered by the infant) in response to which the psychic apparatus is called into being as the process of translation and mediation. Laplanche also, therefore, redefines the primary fantasies (seduction, castration, the primal scene) as phantasmatic answers to the engimas/traumas the infant encounters: what am I? where do I come from? What is sexuality? What is sexual difference? Freuds notions of infantile researches is thus inverted by Laplanche such that certain fantasies emerge as provisional

explanations for the enigmatic nature of the Other, always a sexed and sexual other. Following on from this initiating period, the Oedipus complex, shattered by the anxiety of threatened castration, initiates an account of sexual difference marked by the phallus which installs the subject in its deluded position which can result in an identification with what Lacan names the subject supposed to know. Thus research in the form of the professional undertaking of a career dedicated to the pursuit of new knowledge, can be variously examined under different psychoanalytical rubrics in which we must take into account both the infantile crucible for the drive, the cultural conditions the infant encounters that may generate both drive as a metabolisation and fantasy as explanation of the enigma of the unknown, but also that these operations confront the central engima of human being in humanising subjectivity: sexual difference. The mark of sexual difference within the subject is not just a gender and a sexual positioning, but the suspension between what makes us need to understand what confronts us as enigmatic and the projection of the fictive position of a subject who might ultimately know. That was Yerushalmis failing in Derridas terms: he was driven to write an imaginary letter to Freud himself to ask for the answer to his question, rather than recognizing in his anxiety about not knowing, and in conjuring up a Freud like Hamlets fathers ghost, the inevitable predicament of the inquiring subject. I would go further, and suggest that fantasies of sexual difference shape the world of research in which a privileging of the world as that which is to be revealed, named, mastered or known is identified with the sadistic activity of the Oedipally phallic while that which is to be known is rendered masochistically passivefeminizedawaiting the revelation or exposure of being known: which is, of course, always to be dreaded as the answer will, in this model, only reveal lack, the lack in being and not just in the other. Undertaking research in psychoanalysis or with psychoanalysis is thus no different, except that we have, in the foundational texts of the practice, a series of models that run across the several sites identified by Laplanche. In the work of Lacan, we have texts that themselves attempt, and often fail, it must be said, as they can and must fail, to elude the very desires for mastery and delusions of knowledge while allowing the unconscious, the other scene,

to generate another kind of understanding that can take into account that I do not know what I am saying. This will give rise to two implications for advanced research in art and design and its support through critical or theoretical work: namely exploring models of writing and models of teaching that do not reify theory, thought or any critical procedure as if we could ever suspend the insights offered by psychoanalysis. Yet, we undertake it in the self-critical awareness that we seek knowledge precisely to master anxiety in the face of enigma. Working with psychoanalytical texts in the contexts of their own historical production over time and in various moments and cultures, offer us models of sustained, lifelong exploration at the intersection of daily engagement with patients and the theoretical and dialogical elaboration of insights and ideas through writing and commentary, dialogical debate and even polemic. They are models of sustained contribution to an expanding understanding of psychic life marked by the unconscious and can thus be studied as themselves cultural texts, exercises at the intersections of thinking and being that psychoanalysis itself configures dialectically but also asymptotically. II As one of the major intellectual and theoretical revolutions of the 20 th century, psychoanalysis is inevitably part of any contemporary practice and study of art and design, knowingly or not. Kristeva and others have offered what we can call symptomatic readings on an epochal scale of new tendencies a few of which could be listed as:  the impossibility of the picture versus the expanded space of fragmentation in the installation Repetition and seriality Video and narcissism Abjection and the informe The oceanic and immersive cinematic The bigger question is, however, can artistic practice itself become a form of research, a site for a discovery that does not conform to the phallic ethos of seeking a subject supposed to know and thus close the uncertainty of subjectivity?

That is a wager I have been prepared to undertake with a small group of artists, analysts, curators, and art writers in the most treacherous of areas and the most central to the psychoanalytical domain: sexual difference. Like all research, however, whatever is produced must meet the dual test of validlity and significance. Validity is a horizontal test; that is to say research will be acknowledged as valid only in so far as it is located in relation to, and shows knowledge of, the current state of the field in which it is aiming to intervene. Research is thus always part of a collective structure or a dialogical one in which scholars/artists look to their left and right to become part of a common field. Only on the basis of knowledge of the state of the game, as it were, can a significant intervention be identified and asserted. Thus for research in art and design to operate in a field inflected by psychoanalytical thought and practice, it must operate on a crossed field with doubled axes of validity and significance: being legible and effecting transformation as both art and psychoanalysis. Can art be research? is perhaps a bigger question. I have no doubt that it can operate in a formalised research context once the criteria for assessment are identified in terms of validity and significance. What are the questions being explored? What are the means/methods of exploration and most critically, what are the internal modes of critical reflexivity and evaluation of the relation between question and method of research internally and contextually? Thus the artist cannot simply assert this is my question, my method and my result. That might constitute a professional practice which can, as such, do as it likes for it is not accountable to tests of validity or significance. I often say to prospective PhD candidates, that, as an artist, do what you want. That is your right as an artist. If you come to the university and ask to submit your work for a doctorate, your project enters into a community of research; it has to meet a more public, collective or dialogical test of knowing and understanding which both inspires and frames the undertaking. It engages with debates and issues that have a larger as well as a critical relevance. Currently I am examining (not in the formal sense) a dual intervention into the field demarcated by the later Lacan on the possibility of a supplementary jouissance beyond the phallus and by what Peter Osborne has usefully named post-conceptual

painting, that is a knowing engagement with painting after the conceptual turn which is further demarcated by debates about the philosophical and aesthetical implications of any practice of thought or art after Auschwitz. All three of these are big questions; they are fundamentally and hence traumatically transdisciplinary. Rather than elaborate on the multi-scened research by artistpsychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger that forms the object of my research, I want to focus instead on resistance to research, resistance to knowledge, resistance to the transformations of institutionalised disciplinary identities that are repeatedly encountered. In psychoanalytical terms, we know that fidelity to a school of thought and to its phallic parental figurethe guaranteeing Symbolic Paternal Namedivides the field and turns the originating research into an applied methodology with somewhat disastrous consequences for analysands. Jacqueline Rose wrote brilliantly about the fantasies underpinning the Lacanian school and the effects of its dissolution by Lacan himself. 8 We also find this in art historical, art critical and art practical terms. Thus, afraid of independent research, and monitored by forms of auditing and peer review that maintain certain norms, our research is constantly prefigured by pre-articulated notions, by anterior narratives that stifle transformation. AHRC Peer reviewers and panels of experts determine what is new, relevant, or old-fashioned and no longer relevant, in ways which we all know give voice to the possibly prejudiced and secure consensus. This institutionalises resistance. The inclusion of art/design practice in the research institution, is precisely the submission of a hitherto unaudited research activity to an auditable procedure which is generating its own selfserving apparatuses, new fields of meta-theoretical research and professionalization by creating its own interrogation as a field of research in itself.9 Psychoanalysis comes into play to ask us: what are you doing? For what we are doing is trying always to guess at the desire of the Other, the subject supposed to know instead of grappling with our own compulsions and confused desire. Do I as a feminist want to better the story for women in order to feed my damaged narcissism as a woman in a phallocentric society? Do I diss certain ideas because in my revolt against femininity (that does not disown me as a woman nor as a person) I cannot tolerate the truth of the phallocentric order? Is it possible to follow the thread of Freud, Lacan and Kristeva to the notion

of the illusoriness of the phallus that, none the less, holds all humanity in its signifying thrall? Is it possible to follow up the word of the textual Lacan (as opposed to the master he could not help wanting to become or becoming in the eyes of his followers) just as he did with Freud, to seek to postulate a supplementary domain of subjectivity beyond the phallus, thus not instead of, not an inversion, not an Amazonian victory, but an elaboration of a supplementary jouissance he glimpsed and realized that within his own construction as a masculine subject and under his own theoretical rulings on the signifier, he could not yet theorize, into a mode of signification that could produce a shift in the phallocentric without knocking it out? My question is: What would or could make culture desire such supplementary knowledge of human capacities? Could art be the site of researching both resistance and possibility? I do not know, but I do know how to imagine researching such a possibility with all the psychoanalytically inflected selfexamination of what it is that I want and what wanting (lack and desire) does in shaping forms of knowledge and its administration. Rather than the parody of research first outlined in the dialogue between Dany Nobus and Stijn Vanheule, I want to propose research as always the posing of the deepest questions: what are we? Why are wedifferenced? Is there difference that is not sexual difference in the phallic sense of marking the illusory lack of being versus the illusion of having of the phallus? Research as a complex, psychologically determined activity occurs, however, in history. Not only in the consulting rooms of Freud and Breuer and Juliet Mitchell and others now, the hysterics came to speak psychic distress, in trouble with language. This speaking of distress on the part of the hysterical daughters and overlooked mothers (remember Freuds dismal dismissal of Doras mother for her housewifes psychosis) contemporaneously took on political forms of revolt across two centuries and finally, in the later twentieth century, intersected specifically with aesthetic forms and generated artistic transformations. Thus, as a conclusion to this response to the dialogue between Nobus and Vanheule, a dialogue that indicated that both parties were still somewhat trapped in what Derrida would consider apsychoanalytical modes in relation to research, I suggest return to Laplanches comments on 'Theory as Experience':

To state that theory is a site and object of experience obviously implies a refusal to grant theory any definitive status of its own, either on the grounds that it is a tool (the expression conceptual tool is sometimes used: it has to be of some use) or on grounds that it is, to a greater or lesser extent, a useless scaffolding To state that man is a self-theorizing being is, on the other hand, to state that all real theorization is an experiment and an experience which necessarily involves the researcher It is not devalued if we mobilize it, if we make it mobile, remobilize it, free it from artificial bonds, or even give it a new valency, provided that we do not reduce it to the dimension of pure illusion (something which is, for some, synonymous with phantasm or fantasy) or, on the other hand, to a set of purely rational arguments.10

Bracha Ettinger identifies the possibility of a graceful covenant between art and theory when theoretical and artistic elements collide and mutually transform each other at borderlines that 11 become thresholds for changes in each partner to the encounter. Such a covenant/transport may occur precisely here where psychoanalysis as a multi-sited experience and a monitor reminds us that we are marked culturally by its discoveries, languages, and possibilities. Psychoanalysis encounters the transformed conditions and potentialities of the contemporary domain of aesthetic practices that now have a space or a site within the university, that is, the institution of research beyond the gallery and the market. Ettinger suggests that the seeds of ideas can emerge inside an art practice that will have to be transplanted in/transported to other modes of elaboration, other formal languages for plotting out critical thought: the human as self-theorizing.12 This does return us to writing, not as alien other to the artistic form, but as a space for self-theorization that is psychoanalysis as the culturally generated mirror to the search for understanding of the predicaments of subjectivity: sexed, speaking human subjects.


End Notes
1.  Jean Laplanche, New Foundations for Psychoanalysis, trans. David Macey (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), pp. 8-15. 2.  Ibid., pp. 11-12. 3.  Ibid., pp. 12. 4.  Letter to Marie Bonaparte, as quoted in Ernest Jones, Sigmund Freud: Life and Work (London: Hogarth Press, 1955), Vol. 2, Pt. 3, Ch. 16. 5.  Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, trans. Eric Prenowitz (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 54-55. 6.  Sigmund Freud, Leonardo da Vinci: A Memory of His Childhood 1910 reprinted in Penguin Freud Library, Volume 14 Art and Literature (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1985), pp. 145-233. 7.  Freud, Leonardo da Vinci: A Memory of His Childhood, pp. 170-71. 8.  Jacqueline Rose, Feminism and the Psychic, in Sexuality in the Field of Vision (London: Verso Books, 1986), pp. 1-23. 9.  On the cultural meaning of auditing as itself a culture of intellectual management see the anthropological analyses in Marilyn Strathern, ed., Audit Culture: Anthropological Studies in Accountability, Ethics and the Academy (London: Routledge, 2000). See also Bill Readings, The University in Ruins (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1996). 10.  L aplanche, New Foundations for Psychoanalysis, pp. 12-13. 11.  Bracha Ettinger, WomanOther-Thing: A Matrixial Touch, in Bracha Ettinger: Matrix Borderlines (Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 1993), p. 11. 12.  For a major reading of Ettingers metaphor here see Anna Johnson, Nomad-Words in Antony Bryant and Griselda Pollock, eds., Digital and Other Virtualities: Renegotiating the Image (London: I.B.Tauris, 2010), pp. 217-236.


06 Practising practice: an approach to a possible relation between Psychoanalysis and Practise Based Research
Adrian Rifkin, Professor of Art Writing, Department of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London
his most recent novel, J. M. Coetzee has one of his characters remark that As a child one can do without explanations. One does not demand that everything make sense.1 Its not a bad place to start now, as a regression to reading novels, from the rigours of bureaucratic theorising, especially a novel which treats of some kind of unending regression, is one way of thinking about a certain refusal of research for verification in favour of a process of upturning some figural adequacies. That is, temporary stagings, which will do for us, one way or another; in our politics or in our engagements in the making and beholding of culture, and so forth. This should be quite different from what would be the more dangerous and reductive refusal of interpretationwhich, after all, does not require that everything make sense. On the contrary the history of interpretation, whether of religious textsor as religious text, dreams, verbal symptoms or Renaissance paintings suggests that very little ever makes proper sense, and it is within this ongoing little that we construct an adequate present and an inner life of our own. Aporia and uncertainty between them can make for a good enough life, if not an easy one, nor one that can readily be retailed as a commodity. 2 In writing this I want to open an approach to the phrase psychoanalysis and practice based research by putting, at first, just one of its constituent words into questionresearch. And in so doing I have already, albeit very clumsily, followed what unfolds in the second section of the first week of Lacans famous eleventh seminar; and in starting from there I am trying to find some forms of periphrase to elaborate around the conjunction of the words practice-based-research (P-B-R) with psychoanalysis (Ps).



There is, after all, a tacit agreement that we know what it is, P-B-R, it is something to do with bringing the making of art into a broader context of research practices and funding in contemporary Britain and, eventually, the Europe of post-Bologna. And to a certain extent I go along with this: I have worked with some excellent projects, not least RESCEN at Middlesex University. There most aspects of contemporary performance, from dance to composition and installation, were set against and with each other in unpicking one anothers momentary processes, in interpretation, commentary, tracking and meta-commentary, while the ensemble of them were set to engage with urban studies, anthropology, critical theory andindeedpsychoanalysis. The resulting bookNavigating the Unknownis an immense record of what it means to engage in a kind of folly, accepting the notion of P-B-R, to enable the unfolding of a process for which it is, in the end, grossly inadequate as a name. 3 In a workshop and public conversation between RESCEN the group and Hannah Segal, for example, I had a sharp and clear impression that her way of listening, or hearing, had lured them into a different way of speaking, more hesitant and at the same time more raw and more confessional that had been usual. And that, in this instance that, to do P-B-R in relation to Ps was unlike doing it with an anthropologist. But then Segal herself is not Ps, just one of its many modes, and this interaction could be understood as one instance, and only one, of something that does not necessarily withstand thinking of a field securely called Psychoanalysis and P-B-R. What would be a Greenian or a Milnerian or a Pontalisian Ps-P-B-R, to take just three names intimately linked with the making and reading of culture?4 So here I wantdestructively, and despite that wonderful experience, to break ranks with the consensus and say quite loudly that, as with Lacan in 1964, la terme recherche, je men mfie. And, oddly, for much the same reasons: its turning into a shibboleth for so many manipulations in the imposition of rules and regulations on the humanities in our days, just as he already feared that it was back in the 1960s. But if I also want to follow him into what he calls the revendication hermneutique of one who seeks la signification neuve et jamais puise 5 I understand that to do so is inevitably to stray from the model of one practice, that

of psychoanalysis, into that of another; a form of the humanities at some level indifferent to the empirical or the quantitative: a practice looking for something that might be a subject, even if in the end no subject (take that as you like) comes to constitute a practice as such. (There is a funny English, bureaucratic manner of pronouncing research with an emphasis on the first syllable rather than with an even emphasis on both, which makes it sound like the practice of housework, something to do over and over again.) A practice, perhaps, of looking away or glancing aside, which could be a procedure for an ensemble of research practices, historical, philosophical or even astrophysical, but different in each circumstance. One of the initial promises of queer theory was that it would never become a subject. It would resist the constitution of (research) paradigms or even paragons, so that being a sidewayson glance on the world would never be a mere pretence. It had a pedigree for its ambition, as well as for its fate, at least as far back as the Christian Scriptures. In the episode of the woman taken in adultery, in the gospel of St John, Jesus looks away when the rabbis demand his opinion on her punishment. He looks away, twice, and draws in the dust, and utters the famous sentence concerning the matter of the first stone. Looking away and uttering is clearly a practice of his, one that queer theory, before it became a discipline, and Jesus, might be said to have shared.6 But if it were a practice, a defined and recognised practice as we think we understand it in putting together the words P-B-R, what kind of an R might adhere to it as a B, when looking away is already a mode of finding out? Is looking away, for example, rather a practice-based practice, or research based research? (Very obviously when one muddles the words a bit like this, it becomes clear enough that one of the difficulties with P-B-R is that the status of P and R as both verbs and nouns is hopelessly muddled). What kind of Ps as well will be the Ps of our consideration, might it be intersubjective or US style re-integrative? But already it has not taken long for a second word to take on a peculiar soundthat of practice itself, the thing which is being favoured in accepting it as a base for research. I wonder what it is that I practice now, and if it is a basis for research? If I carry on



writing, will I have done some research? However I am not alone in my puzzlement in trying to put an & between Ps and what I am practicing. In one of George Simenons 65 Maigret novels the famous commissaire of the Parisian criminal police comes into quite close contact with psychoanalysis, albeit in rather a psychiatric mode. This is in Les scrupules de Maigret, written in 1957, in which the narrative is precipitated by the arrival of a man in Maigrets office who explains to him that he, Xavier Marton, the head toys salesman and expert in electric model trains at the Grands Magasins du Louvre, is danger of being poisoned by his wife. He insists that he is not mad in his observation of the signs of this impending fate, and that he has indeed had himself tested by a psychiatrist to whom Maigret need only apply for confirmation. Shortly after the man leaves Mme Marton herself arrives to put her side of the story; quite different from her husbands it brings a new bearing on what is sanity and clarity, seen in the bearing of two individuals in their anxiety.7 Puzzled by this possible crime to be the commissaire turns to a book of psychoanalysis in the judicial library. Soon he is to be immersed in a vocabulary of neurosis (according to Adler), paranoia, psychosis and malformed egos and so forth, shuttling between which is a possible explication of the husband, or of the wife or of both orof course, of himself. In a sense the dnouement of the story is his release from the thrall of this book, this source of anxiety and questioning and an estrangement from his everyday practice through which he already knows these complex issues as a kind of common sense; a bit like an artist, a dumb artist perhapsla psychanalyse, je men mfie to put a phrase into Simenons story. In fact the rumour of psychoanalysis echoes in more than one of the novels, sometimes as a sign of the modernising or even the bureaucratising of the practice of detection as young experts from the grandes coles enter the profession. But detection is, all said and done, the very acme of something that we want to call practice based research, a step by step, perceptual, reflective, hesitant establishing of a ground and an imageperhaps, if we take a certain kind of painting as our model, or maybe late Beethoven or (late) Freuds Moses.8

Something, I say, for the something can be any number of things or practices and the very name practice based research as we know in its origin is no less, but maybe more than a bureaucratic illocution, a kind of deadly, uselessly enigmatic and entropic oxymoron. It undoes all the careful thinking around theory, practice and method that we once elaborated around, for example, the Althusserian notion of theoretical practice, itself a fruitful moment of the collusion between psychoanalysis and philosophy. These complications perhaps account for why the conversation at the centre of our attention might seem a little restrained, to skirt around the posing of possibilities that, once given shape, might lead us to give up here and now making any such a link at all. As I have already suggested, one has only take Sminaire 11 at the letter, and to recall how Lacan speaks of Freuds finding the unconscious, to see that the whole issue should really leave us cold; cold with anger at the imposition of such a discourse as our subject. Freuds own conjoint practices of historian, speculative cultural critic, inventor and psychoanalyst in the Moses book also make this conjunction of Ps-P-B-R look tardy and maybe supernumerary. (Freuds fabrication in Moses is itself a bit like art, making a work, starting, stopping, resuming, supposing, resuming, adducing, and so on, though in his own terms it has none of the characteristics of art that he discerns in his other writings.) Obviously enough one would still have to ask, thinking in terms of a contemporary mode of cultural psychoanalysis, what is at stake in the phrase P-B-R? Is it a symptom, can it be holding some aspiration to a better way of thinking, is it the name for an object, a lack, a loss, a form of melancholy in always turning round the practice and the research and their impossible base as being each other, when each is anyway a practice and a looking-for? I am reminded of some work I did many years ago on a phrase of the great arts and education administrator of his time, Henry Cole; some mistakes in candlesticks. What could this strange and apparent category mistake signify, this personifying of the made object or condensation or displacement of human error into objects; not its meaning, but its value as a good enough phrase to allow the emergence of a whole system of judgement and rule?9 So back to Maigret and what does he do, as a practice, and in what way can psychoanalysis be thought of has having an impact



on what he does, or at least on the unfolding of one instance of this practice, the novel called Les Scrupules de Maigret? On the whole, and I hazard something of a guess after reading only forty or so of these novels (reading, sometimes another form of P-B-R, sometimes not, but in either case a practice) I guess that Maigrets practice of detection is both active and passive; he waits and discovers; he questions and he finds; he sets in motion and he attends, all of these, together, in different relations, until an explication falls into his hands. Rarely does he have hypotheses or research questions, other than the supervening one of the entire genre of police and detective fictionwho did it? But in his case, in his immersion in atmosphere, his active pursuit of a prosopopoeiac empathy with the dead and the absent killer, his practice entails a number of activities that might either be essential and structural, so as to speak, or merely side effects of the other methods of detection or attention to symptoms, including the practice of looking away from the inessential. There is much eating, mostly of delicious food in small and out of the way cafs and brasseries, many glasses of fine leau, calvados and halves of beer sandwiches, unexpected train journeys, even meals at home with Mme Maigret or walks in Paris arm in arm with her, not to mention long hours of interrogation at the Quai. But I suppose were one to add them all up they might be thought to constitute between them a form of waiting comparable to listening, to the long time of waiting for the patients words to arrive at a moment of interpretation. Passing time, psychoanalysis takes time, is in time of return passing time as a practice. Maigrets is an ensemble of practices of the everyday, in which the crime is one practice amongst many, as is research, and its contingencies resolve into some kind of a result. It is for this that he is able to forgo Ps in the end. I hope I am not merely repeating what we already knowthat over their different histories psychoanalysis and detective stories seem to need each other, or need to be seen together in cultural theory itself in search of ego-ideal. Although I hope that I am expressing a necessary doubt concerning what we mean by practice, not to mention research and psychoanalysis, and that, in the event the question, the more positive question we might ask, that would flow from a series of intersecting practices is how

might we live in this folly of P-B-R and its possible prefixes, of which Ps is but one. If these groupings of words are good enough to talk us through the dark night of bureaucracy, then, as Andrea Phillips has suggested,10 we can take them as a moment in the distribution of the sensible when a non-part or a sans-partthe maker of artcan speak or be spoken, precisely in the space of absurdity that might be the unconscious of bureaucracy: in this way P-B-R with any number of its prefixes need not, after all, make any more sense than that.

End Notes
5. J  acques Lacan, Le sminare, livre Xl. Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse, (Paris: Seuil, 2.  See for example Sarah Kofman, 1973), pp. 12-13. Comment sen sortir, (Paris: Galile, 1983). 6. T  he Gospel According to St John, verses 7.53 ff. in King 3.  For a current overview of the James Version. The reading work of RESCEN see their of his writing as a sideways website, http://rescen.net/ glance is my own. For a [Accessed 8 May 2011]. See different view of turning away also Navigating the Unknown: within art and education see The creative process in Irit Rogoff at Summit, Non contemporary performing arts, Aligned Initiatives in Education Christopher Bannerman, Culture, Berlin, May 2007, Joshua Sofaer, Jane Watt, Academy as Potentiality, at Errollyn Wallen, Ghislaine http://summit.kein.org/blog/3 Boddington, Graeme Miller, [Accessed 10 January 2010]. Shobana Jeyasingh, Richard Layzell, Rosemary Lee, Susan 7. S  ee Tout Maigret, Simenon, Melrose, Jason Wilson, Mark Omnibus, Paris, 2007, Vernon, Caroline Bergvall, Vol Vll, pp. 240-275 for the Adrian Rifkin, Guy Claxton, unfolding of the problematic. published with Middlesex Maigrets concern is redoubled University Press, 2005. by domestic secrets so the husband/wife conflict becomes 4.  A full transcription of this a projection of his own (as it public seminar may be found happens pointless) anxieties. at http://rescen.net/archive/ See Pierre Assoulines motivationpsych04.html discussion of this episode in [Accessed 8 May 2011]. his monumental biography Simenon (Paris: Gallimard, 1992/1996), p. 714.

1. J  . M. Coetzee, Summertime, (London:Vintage Books, 2010), p. 108.

8.  Sigmund Freud, Moses and MonotheismThree Essays (1939[1934-1938]), translated by James Strachey, in the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, (London:Vintage, 2001). 9.  See Adrian Rifkin, Success Disavowed: the Schools of Design in mid-nineteenthcentury Britain. (An Allegory) in the Journal of Design History, Vol 1 No. 2, 1988, p. 99. For a contemporary psychoanalytic critique of this which I follow here, see Malcolm Quinn, Critique Conscious and Unconscious: Listening to the Barbarous Language of Art and Design Journal of Visual Arts Practice Vol. 7 No.3 (2008). 10.  Unpublished, in a series of lectures on Practice based Research given by Dr Andrea Phillips, Adrian Rifkin and others to research students in the Department of Art, Goldsmiths, Autumn 2008.